“Yes, yes it is.”
He holds on tight to his coffee cup. It had gone cold while he was waiting for her. He is afraid to look at her; afraid she will even be more beautiful than the last time he saw her and then he would fall to pieces. They are sitting on their bench in the park. He wonders what is going through her head. He wonders how she is doing, how she is managing.
“How is the new place?”
“It is okay. You know Brooklyn and its apartments. It took forever for it to be set up for me.”
They let silence reign for a few minutes. He is not sure why she called him. He is even less sure why he came. It has been three months since she found out the truth about him and walked out the door. Three months since he looked into those beautiful eyes. 96 days since he last held her, kissed her, heard her laugh, made her breakfast. 96 sleepless nights.
He should have known better than to come here.
“I am sorry.” She finally says.
He hears the words but their meaning fails to register.
“I am sorry.” He repeats, tasting the words and chewing on their substance.
She sighs and he finally looks at her. She is indeed more beautiful and he falls to pieces just like he knew he would.
“You should have told me about the plane crash. You lied to me instead. You took advantage of the fact that there was little or no way I could have found out.”
“Wait, wait let me finish. I was mad that you didn’t trust me with your wounds and your scars. I was mad, really mad. I trusted you with everything. I still trust you with everything but you didn’t trust me enough with the most determining event in your life. Those nights you broke out in a sweat and I held you. Those nights you couldn’t sleep and I stayed up with you. Those nights we chose to stay awake and dream up our future instead of falling asleep to the nightmares of the past. You could have told me then.”
“I am no more mad. If anyone should understand, it should be me. People like us, people who are scarred and different, we tend to be anxious about our stories and the world’s reception of our circumstances. I am sorry I got mad at you. I am sorry I left and didn’t ever return your calls. I am sorry for everything.”
He wants to say it is all right and that there is nothing to be sorry about but his heart is too full.
“Tell me, tell me about today.” She says after a while.
The dog licks his hand and he pats her head. He has missed her so very much. Her name Is Nadia and he thinks of the helpful, friendly puppy they had chosen together only two years back. She was why he had found it easier to stay away when Chinelo had shut him out. He knew Chinelo would come to no harm for as long as she had Nadia.
“Today; today is beautiful. Beautiful in a way that you know a storm is coming. You can smell it in the air, taste it on your tongue, feel it in your heart but there are no clouds or darkness to be seen yet. It is beautiful with expectation. Like a woman whose time has come and she anticipates the pain of childbirth with fear and joy because she knows something beautiful will come out of the agony.”
He stops and reaches for her hand. Nadia licks both their hands and they laugh.
“Will you marry me?” She asks.
He isn’t shocked or surprised by her question. He had been planning on asking it anyway.
“Yes.” He answers without missing a bit.
Yes, I will marry you. Yes, I will be your eyes. Yes, you can be my beautiful.
“Let’s go home before it starts to rain.” He says, folding her walking stick. She wouldn’t be needing it while he was here. She takes Nadia’s leash with one hand, reaches for his hand with the other and they head on home.
On their way, they walk past people who have come to the park for different things.
“That is an awfully beautiful woman. What is she doing with that ugly scarred man? He looks like half of his face was burned in a fire.” One person remarks to her friend as they watch the couple and their dog.
“Love is blind, my dear.” Her companion replies before returning to the New York Times feature she had been reading. It was a beautiful story, written by a man who had survived a plane crash in his home country of Nigeria and had come to New York to start a new life. There was no author’s photo accompanying the feature.
I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. I have been inspired by his work more times than I can count. No one will be perfect. Life will probably have scarred them before they get to you. Choose to shut your eyes, chose your heart over your five senses. God does the same already for you.
Song of the day: Ed Sheeran- Cold Coffee